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Czaban Back on Local Morning Air

Since SportsTalk 980 became ESPN 980, coinciding with Tony Kornheiser's Monday Night Football radio vacation, our local AM sports gab options have been limited to Mike and Mike and Mike and Mike and Mike and Mike. Most mornings I don't listen. Today I did. Mike and Mike and Mike and Mike and Mike were running through their AFC playoff picks. Mike went with New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, San Diego, Jacksonville and the Jets. Mike, on the other hand, chose New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, San Diego, Jacksonville and the Jets. Kind of a nice demonstration of the lack of morning sports talk diversity.

But help may be on the way. As DCRTV reported yesterday (also mentioned on RI), a new Baltimore sports talker will launch this coming Monday, Fox 1370 Sports Radio, with old friend Jerry Coleman on board as sports director. Coleman will host an afternoon drive show from 3-6, tentatively called "Sports With Coleman," but much of the other content will be syndicated, at least initially. And that means Steve Czaban and Scott Linn's "First Team on Fox" should be available locally, at least to many of D.C.'s suburban Marylanders. (The station has a 50,000-watt daytime signal, according to Coleman.)

For the time being, this puts Baltimore ahead of D.C., 3-1, in the number of sports talkers, which doesn't speak particularly highly of D.C. fandom, although it's fair to speculate that both markets will be back to two sports talkers eventually. (Oh, and for any of you with sports interests that occasionally include events other than Redskins games, have you heard the promos for 980's "24-Hour Pregame Show?" I'm guessing the Redskins would be happy to score one point for every hour of their pre-game radio show, which is fairly remarkable.)

Czaban, of course, continues to co-host the Sports Reporters afternoons on the new ESPN 980, but anyone who wants to hear him on the air in the morning will now have to tune in to a rival station from a rival city featuring a rival national network, which all feels very odd. Will he be able to promote his morning show while on the air in the afternoon? Unclear. I just chatted with Czaban, and asked what it's like to have his local employer promoting his competition, the Mikes.

"Like anybody, it pisses you off," he said, while acknowledging that ESPN offers a powerful brand. "I won't deny that it's a product. It's just, to me, 'Mike and Mike' is a TV show that they carry on radio at this point. It's certainly well executed from a TV standpoint, but from what I'm used to doing, sports radio, it's just so packaged and safe. It's all very nice and neat. Real sports radio is sometimes ugly and raw and awkward and biased and unfair and all these other things.

"But hey, to the victor go the spoils, and the people writing the big checks to buy radio stations get to do what they want, and I just carry on."

As for Coleman, he says the Baltimore sports talk competition (ESPN 1300 and WNST 1570) is "very beatable," but that only time will tell whether Baltimore can really support three sports talkers. And Coleman's now back to covering the Ravens in a town that won't care all that much what's happening at his former haunt, Redskins Park. (Although Coleman does plan to invite fellow Baltimorean Jason La Canfora on his show.)

"It's kind of a dream come true to be able to help start up a sports station in your home town," Coleman told me. "I'm going to be different from a lot of talk show hosts in the fact that I've been out in the field, I've been in the locker room, I've shown my face and I will continue to do that. I've always believed if you're a talk show host or a columnist and you kill somebody one day, you have to show your face the next day or whenever the team is around, absolutely. I've never run from that. I'll definitely show my face."

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 3, 2008; 12:38 PM ET
Categories:  Media  
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wow something stinks

oh yeah i guess you should change the name of this paper (which sadly was once great) to the baltimore post

czabe and jlc are purely contrarian d-bags

you don't need to be homers ,but all of the killjoy hate that comes from here and from guys like andy polley and czabe gets really old

Posted by: jonthefisherman | September 3, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one that liked the Riggins afternoon show a LOT more? Really disappointed that it's gone. Andy and Steve seem a little full of themselves to me.

Posted by: k | September 3, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I haven't listened to the Reporters since the changeover, but glad Czabe and Scotty will be back on the air "locally" again.

Posted by: odessa steps magazine | September 3, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Now the question becomes, can DC support even one sports talk--uh, Redskins talk radio station?

Posted by: UMD's Burning Couch | September 3, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

hated the riggins show.

Posted by: tb | September 3, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

One more it just me, or is Czaban actually starting to look more and more like Homer Simpson? That's quite a forehead!

Posted by: UMD's Burning Couch | September 3, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@jonthefisherman: I generally feel the same way about Czaban and had had just about enough of him when Sports Talk 980 died. Then the Mikes returned.
Gosh, I do miss Czaban a little bit after all. I mean, would "Mike and Mike" spend nearly an entire show on the Annual Nationwide Bathroom survey?

Posted by: Arlington Pimp | September 3, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

A 24 hour pregame show? Could this be any more excessive? "Oversaturation" is now synonymous with "Redskins radio coverage". Ugh!

Posted by: k | September 3, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Hoepfully, they will hire me as the Noon-3 p.m. guy, as that's the time I'm frantically searching for bloggable headlines.

Posted by: | September 3, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

If indeed the reach of 1370 makes it down to the Maryland suburbs, there will finally be sports talk to listen to here in Silver Spring. Won't listen to Mike and Mike and I can't stand the whole way the Sports Reporters have been since the sale. It's all been kissing Danny's and the Redskins behinds. I like the contrarian point of view, even though I am a die hard Redskin fan.

Posted by: JM needs AM (show) | September 3, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Love Czaban. Hopefully I can pick up his station. I listen to the Junkies now, but i'd rather drive off of the Wilson bridge then listen to 1 minute of Mike and Mike in the morning.

Posted by: Brandon | September 3, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

This is great now I dont have to buy XM.

I also hated (ok disliked) the Riggins show. I like Riggo, he just is not radio host material.

I hope Coleman succeeds just to irritate the Danny. I dont know why they dumped him for Hanrahan, who is ok, but I liked Coleman.

Mike and Mike are truly awful.

Posted by: jimbo | September 3, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Why do stations keep hiring Coleman!? He must have some really ggod drugs ...

Posted by: Mooz | September 3, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Coleman and Czaban better watch out for the Rob Long Show (R-O-B L-O-N-G,R-O-B L-O-N-G, R-O-B L-O-N-G) on 1570, home of Chicken Box Friday!

Posted by: Bill Fitzgerald | September 3, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I thought "Oversaturation" described the WAPO's coverage of the football team.

Posted by: odsessasteps | September 3, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

After listening to Czaban this morning, I think that Baltimore station is making a big mistake! Who cares about Czaban's HD addiction and Scott getting a new HD TV in his house. This is exactly why sportstalk radio is terrible in this market. Dan Snyder's problem is the talent at these stations are poor and there's an unwillingness to make changes. That's why WTEM will always be the 18th-20th ranked station in the market.

Posted by: Keith/Sterling,VA | September 3, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Sportstalk isn't worth listening to in this region.

Posted by: sitruc | September 4, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Two plucky, bald guys I will always listen to: George Costanza and the Czabe.

Posted by: Sam Malone | September 5, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

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